James V. Murray
Involved in an Accident? Remember These Steps
Getting into a motor vehicle accident can be terrifying, especially if it's your first accident. On top of the stress and potential injuries involved you find that you may not know exactly what to do in this situation. Preparing to see a car accident lawyer right away isn't a necessity for instance, but attorneys can be useful in these situations. Don't be upset if you've found yourself in an accident -- you're not alone. In the U.S. alone there are about 6 million car accidents every year. It's important to keep calm and remember these post-accident tips to help move things along.
- Move Your Vehicle: If possible, move your car out of the road. It's unsafe for you and for oncoming cars if you're in the middle of traffic. If you're car is still safely able to drive (or roll) then move it to the shoulder or off the road completely if you can. If you aren't able to move it then put your hazard lights on to let other cars know you aren't going anywhere.
- Make Sure it's Safe to Get Out: If your car is still in the road and you're able to move, then make sure it's safe to get out before doing so. Many drivers will attempt to get around you so make sure there isn't any oncoming traffic before you get out. If there is traffic, open your door slowly enough so that other drivers have plenty of time to see you. Get off the road rather than waiting by your car.
- Make Sure Everyone is Okay: Check on the other drivers, passengers, or any other people involved in the accident including pedestrians. If someone may be hurt call 911 immediately.
- Collect Yourself: You've just been in an accident, take some time to let yourself process and calm down. You'll want to remember as much about the incident as possible should you need to start preparing for a car accident lawyer, so keeping a clear head is key.
- Call the Police: It's a good idea to call the police even if it's a small auto accident, just in case there's a dispute about the cause of the crash. Police can provide third party judgement which can be helpful in dealing with insurance. Don't admit fault if you can help it and try not to accuse others. If no damage has been done to anything besides your own vehicle, dialing the police isn't necessary. They might be called on their own accord but may not file a report if there's no property damage or injuries.
- Write Down Everyone's Info: Get people's names, phone numbers, and insurance information as well as vehicle make, model, and license plate number. If you can, you should also document the scene. Take pictures with your cell phone and try to get as much detail as you can. It'll help when dealing with your insurance company later on.
- File a Claim: Speak with your insurance provider and file a claim if necessary.
If either party has been injured as a result of the accident, preparing to see a car accident lawyer is the next step. If you're worried about what your attorney might ask, there are many things about preparing to see a car accident lawyer available online.